Sinow is a tribal village situated on a large jungle river that flows through northwestern Papua New Guinea. “Sinow” sounds like “see no”, when spoken.
- Location — Sinow is alongside the Upper Sepik River, about 50 km from Irian Jaya border.
- Population — There are about 260 people in the village of Sinow; and combined with two other area villages, there are about 700 people who speak this dialect.
- History — The people have highlighted a number of detailing the tribe`s struggles and successes against enemy tribes in the past. In the early 1980`s, a number of family clans banded together from their various bush camps to form the present village of Sinow.
- Our history in Sinow — Sinow leaders had been communicating periodically with New Tribes Mission for 12 years or more requesting missionaries before Tertels and Luyendyks moved into the village in September of 2000. For a long time, the people’s biggest concern has been that we wouldn’t stay. In the spring of 2001, Michauds joined the work. In 2004, Michauds were forced by health issues to relocate to the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. In August, 2006, Cratches joined the Sinow team.
- Living conditions — The Sinow people live a hunter/ gatherer existence. They eat a lot of fish, pig, and crocodile. They live frequently in their bush camps scattered throughout the tribe`s wide-ranging hunting grounds. Because of widespread corruption, no government services are maintained in the area. Instead, literacy and primary schooling, along with simple medical assistance has become a village initiative (with our help).
People characteristics — Because of a comparatively higher protein diet than other jungle tribes, these people are often seen as taller and bigger than others. Also they are viewed as quite aggressive towards other tribes living further in the jungle and with other villages that have disputes with them. However, they are quite protective of the three white missionary families that live here.
- Spiritual condition — The villagers are very confused about the conflicting religious messages they have heard from up and down the river. The fear of sanguma (hexes, and curses etc) is a very controlling factor in the fabric of their society. Law and what they perceive as God’s requirements and punishments for wrongdoing are mixed in with ancient animistic beliefs. Recently, we have begun teaching the Sinow people from the bible – translated portions taught in their own language. And we are excited about a group of Sinow people who are now believers.
- Our goals as a missionary team — In line with the philosophy of New Tribes Mission, the three families–Luyendyks, Tertels and Cratches–are currently in language and culture study. We are teaching the Sinow people, within the context of their own language and culture, the truth of the Gospel. Necessarily included in this undertaking is Bible Translation and Literacy teaching. Using New Testament principles of discipling, we desire to see a thriving church, indigenous to Sinow that is planted here. Our mission statement reads: The Sinow team exists to glorify God through the establishing of a properly functioning, indigenous New Testament church among the Sinow people.
Ongoing Prayer requests:
- Pray for endurance and faithfulness in Mike and Jen Cratches’ language learning. 2 and a half or 3 years is a long time to commit to something like learning an unwritten language and culture. Pray that their focus would be on the Lord and His provision and not on their own abilities.
- Pray for Frank and Mirjam Tertel and Kelly and Sien Luyendyk as they work with translation, lesson preparation, literacy needs, teaching and discipling.
- Pray for us as a team for continued unity and united goals. Praise the Lord, He has placed the three families together and we are grateful for good relationships.
- Remember the families of the team. Our children (we are from western Canada) are all living on their own, back in Canada. Their names are: James, Aaron, Carmen and Wes. Frank and Mirjam Tertel (from Germany) also have family in their home country whom they miss very much. Mike and Jen Cratch have three boys: Michael, Mason and Matthew. Their children are maturing in a primitive culture that creates numerous challenges for the family.
- Pray that we continue to look to our Heavenly Father for every thing we need. Pray that we would remember in practical ways that His grace is truly sufficient for every need.
- Pray for the preservation of the Sinow people. The enemy is “out to kill and destroy.” Pray that these people would continue to hear the freeing message of God’s good news in Jesus Christ. Pray that the Spirit would continue to prepare hearts for spiritual openness.